Another Checkmark on the Calendar--Cubs 8 Phillies 1

The Cubs train keeps on a rolling. The old formula worked just fine as Jon Lester was strong once again, and it has been to watch a turn through the rotation with every playoff starter looking strong. The Cubs offense has also done enough to assuage some fears about the lineup in the postseason. The deeper lineup has bested Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Mike Foltynewicz, and now Aaron Nola.

Nola was very strong at the start of the game and it looked like it might take an effort like the one against deGrom. The young righty star struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced. The Cubs batters struck out a total of 11 times against Nola in his 5.2 innings of work.

The Phillies made contact and hard contact earlier than the Cubs. Roman Quinn started the game smoking a ball to the wall in left center. He attempted to stretch the double into a triple, but Kyle Schwarber picked up yet another assit with a strike from deeper left-center. Jon Lester struck out Rhys Hoskins. José Bautista and Carlos Santana hit back to back singles with two outs, but the veteran lefty struck out Asdrúbal Cabrera to end the first.

Lester had a quick second inning after the Cubs went quietly in the top half of the frame. Nola's streak of strikeouts came to an end in the top of the third. Daniel Murphy was the only out during the first time through the order that included contact. The second plate appearance saw Murphy break the deadlock with a solo shot. Lester worked around a two out single to Hoskins.

The Cubs 1-0 lead was doubled to start the fourth inning. Anthony Rizzo launched his 23rd home run of the season to make it 2-0 game. The Cubs threatened to make it a big inning with Kris Bryant singling right after the Rizzo blast. Schwarber struck out and Willson Contreras bounced into an inning ending double play. Lester ran into trouble in the bottom half of the frame. Cabrera and Scott Kingery hit back to back one out singles. Pedro Florimón struck out for the second out, but Jorge Alfaro singled to load the bases. An easy groundball to David Bote off the bat of Nola kept the score at 2-0.

The two pitchers put up clean innings in the fifth, but the sixth saw the game break open for the Cubs. Javier Báez hit home run number 30 off of Nola making it a 3-0 game. Nola walked Rizzo in the next plate appearance. Kris Bryant struck out looking for the second out. Kyle Schwarber pulled a triple down the right field line to score Rizzo. In the bottom half of the frame, Cabrera won the third matchup with Lester with a one out double. He would have scored easily on pinch hitter Aaron Altherr's deep fly ball to center. Ian Happ twisted and turned a difficult play into an extremely difficult catch to end the inning.

Happ led off the seventh inning after the good catch, and hit a ball off the top of the wall in the left center gap. He raced to third for the triple that was upheld after review confirmed the ball was in play. Adam Morgan entered the game and he managed to shut down Albert Almora Jr. and David Bote each failing to drive in Happ.Murphy was unable to pick up his teammates. The ball never left the infield with two groundouts and a punchout to keep the score 4-0. Justin Wilson pitched a clean seventh.

Luis Garcia had a rough day at the office in the eighth inning. He isn't the first reliever nor likely the last to have this happen when facing the heart of the Cubs order. Báez led off with another triple. That made it three straight innings with triples from the Cubs batters. Rizzo drove in Javy with a single. Kris Bryant and Contreras walked to load the bases with one out. Happ scored Bryzzo with his double. Contreras scored on Almora's sacrifice fly. Jorge de la Rosa pitched a clean frame.

Yacksel Ríos kept the Cubs off the board, and the 8-0 lead was enough to trust Brandon Kintzler with in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kintzler struck out Dylan Cozens to start the inning, but Kingery reached on a clean single to right. Altherr struck out for the second out. Alfaro smacked a 3-2 pitch through the right side of the infield. Happ bobbled the ball which turned the base hit into a double for Alfaro. Kintzler's ERA didn't rise any higher though with Nick Williams grounding out to end the game.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Random Reference
The Cubs offensive onslaught began in the third inning. The Cubs hit three solo home runs to take an early lead that was more than enough for Jon Lester and company today. However, the Cubs poured on another five runs with a combined hit total of

Filed under: Game Recap

Tags: Aaron Nola, Cubs, jon Lester, Phillies

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  • The math begins its constrictor squeeze even of the date Sept 2. Game 136 at the .500 mark only bested four other times by the Cubs since 1960, Gm. 126 ('16), 131 (''08), 134 ('69), 135 ('84). Those years Cubs ended up winning 103, 97. 92, 96 games.

    With this lineup and three All Star caliber starters Cubs have a genuine shot of taking the NL into the WS barring anymore injuries. If or when Morrow returns and can stay healthy in strategic use, they have a shot in the WS. They are now that good.

  • Baez with 30 homeruns and 100 RBI. He leads the NL in XBH. I really think he should be the NL MVP.

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    In reply to Cubs09:

    He's only I believe 2 behind otherworldly offensive producer extradonaire, JD Martinez for the MLB lead in XBHs.

    What a treat we have been enjoying all season. Lets hope he keeps in up for about another 7-8 weeks.

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    If he can hit 35 HR with 110 RBI with 30 SB and his defensive abilities and versatility and if the Cubs win the division he should be the MVP.

  • StL lost, so the Countdown gets a second consecutive tasty double dip, and the Magic Number to clinch the NL Central is 21.

    While MIL is now technically in 2nd place, both MIL and StL have the same number of losses, so they are tied for Countdown purposes.

    The Magic Number fell by 8 this past week, 14 since the Countdown started 2 weeks ago. This is an average of 7 per week, which is in line with the general trend in the past 2 Countdowns. At this pace, the Cubs would clinch the division in Chicago at the ballpark that was once known as Comiskey on Sunday, 23 September.

    The series for the first part of this week are StL-WSH and of course the Cubs at MIL. The pitching match-up in DC today is Flaherty-Scherzer. Go Cubs!

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    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thanks so much for these countdowns. When it gets to the teens I start to get excited, and when it comes to single digits it starts to get real. We are so lucky to be here and watch this team.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Yeah, thanks Norway. I look forward to your countdown posts everyday now.

    Cubs have 26 games left & a 21-5 record would shut both teams chasing them out. Throw in any of their losses & that subtracts from the 21. They are in good shape, but take em 1 day at a time. This team is really good.

  • Javy should be MVP. Period.

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    I sure want him to win it, but right now, today, I'd give it to Goldschmidt who started anemic but has been on fire for 2 1/2 months.

  • In reply to TC154:

    One thing though TC.......where would the Diamondbacks and Cardinals be right now if Goldschmidt and Salsa hadn’t played dead the first 6 weeks of the season?
    Javy has been doing it the entire year....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    That’s true, but if Goldschmidt hadn’t been scorching for the last 2.5 months they’d be plain bad too. Goes both ways. It’s a wide open field. Obviously I’m hoping Javy gets it

  • Murphy took a CY candidate pitcher deep.
    Nola was filthy too.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Man, I like that acquisition of Murph... & Hamels. Not to mention Chavez.

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    Where are you BP?
    Yes You May!!

  • Again since '15 the Cubs are peaking in the last two months of the season.

    2018: August 18-10 (.643)
    Sept 2-0 (1.000)

    2017: August 17-12 (.586)
    Sept 19-9 (.679)

    2016: August 22-6 (.786)
    Sept 17-10 (.630)
    Oct 1-1 (.500)

    2015: August 19-9 (.679)
    Sept 19-9 (.679)
    Oct 4-0 (1.000)

    Based on this four year trend Cubs should win 17 out the remaining 26 games or finish with 98 wins. We shall see.

  • Scherzer already allowed 2 runs to the cardinals in the 1st, you gotta be kidding me.

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